A three-year pursuit wasn't enough.
Efton Reid, Ohio State's top big man target for much of the 2021 recruiting cycle, committed to LSU on Sunday. He chose the Tigers over the Buckeyes, Pittsburgh and Florida State.
Before all else I wanna thank God for everything that he has done for me and all that he is going to do for me.I want to thank my Circle for giving me the support and guidance during this journey. All I got to say is Im Ready to get to Work #bootup pic.twitter.com/M5yzs0eTxf— Efton (@efton15) May 9, 2021
By the end of the process, Ohio State was no longer in the mix for Reid. Nearly a month ago, Reid was set to commit but surprisingly opted not to, deciding to prolong his recruitment for an undetermined amount of time as LSU and Florida State made late pushes for him. Two days later, Chris Holtmann accepted a transfer of Indiana's Joey Brunk to fill the spot that would have been his. That ended Ohio State's pursuit of Reid, even after Ibrahima Diallo entered the transfer portal which opened up a scholarship.
The Richmond, Virginia, native graduated from Steward School in 2020 and spent the past year at IMG Academy in Florida where he played on the post-grad team. He's a five-star prospect ranked No. 24 overall and third among centers in the 2021 recruiting cycle.
Rarely has a recruitment in the social media era progressed so quietly. Reid kept it all under wraps throughout the process, almost never speaking to the media and leaving many of the coaches recruiting him to wonder when he'd ultimately make up his mind. He didn't publicly reveal his finalists, and the only reason anybody knew he planned to reveal his commitment last month was because his mother, Maria, tweeted about it 12 days beforehand. Instead, Reid didn't commit that day, and he didn't even make a commitment on Friday when he said he would make his decision at noon.
Ohio State was heavily involved in Reid's recruitment for more than three years – until the last month of it. The pursuit of the 7-footer ramped up once he and his family took an official visit to Columbus on the weekend of Oct. 4-6, 2019. He also made official visits to Louisville and Virginia, along with an unofficial visit to North Carolina, but the coronavirus-spurred recruiting dead period quashed his ability to make visits the past 14 months.
Unable to speak to him in person anymore, the Buckeyes made him a top priority, but they had to do so virtually. Holtmann and assistant coach Ryan Pedon continued taking the lead, building a relationship with Reid and his mother. Along the way, Pittsburgh and Virginia were viewed by many on the outside as the other top contenders. Going pro out of high school appeared to be a possibility for a period of time as well.
But down the stretch, the Buckeyes found themselves in a heated battle for Reid's commitment with suddenly surging LSU and Pittsburgh. The day before his first supposed announcement, Florida State popped up seemingly out of nowhere as a legitimate candidate. Rivals national recruiting reporter Jamie Shaw even put a Futurecast pick in for the Seminoles.
Ultimately the Tigers won out, utilizing a strong late push from head coach Will Wade to secure Reid.